Tips for Training Managers – 8 Ways to Promote Your Training Courses
It’s not always easy to persuade learners to sign-up for a course. Your training course may well be tailor-made to suit your target learners, offering them solutions to everyday issues which negatively affect their performance. However, if the course isn’t internally marketed to its greatest potential, it may fail to benefit those who have the most to gain by completing it.
The good news is there are proven methods of ensuring you have consistent numbers of learners signing-up. Every situation is different, and we are sure you have your own ideas for promotion. After all, you know your company and the way that it works best. However, you may find the following tips useful ways to promote your training courses. They have all been used successfully by our clients in order to keep course uptake as high as possible.
1. Identify a Problem – Offer a Solution
A vital motivator in prompting someone to sign-up for a course is to solve an issue which causes them a problem. The return on invested time is immediately apparent to the learner when the problem and solution are demonstrated to them.
Examine the business processes within your company. Look at results and identify any issues that negatively affect these results. Talking to members of staff who are involved in each part of the process is a good start. This discussion can take place with individuals, with a group or even by distributing a questionnaire – paper-based or online. It’s possible that you may have already completed this work as part of your initial Training Needs Analysis.
When you’ve identified problems, you need to clearly demonstrate exactly how the training course will offer solutions. Demonstrating a clear benefit is the best method to promote your training courses to staff in your company; what they stand to gain by attending the course.
It may be an idea to make the solutions you identify the key message within your marketing material and any meetings or discussions you may have with potential learners or influencers.
2. Use your Company’s Existing Personnel
Every company is unique in the way that it works and the way that individuals contribute. However, it’s likely that your company already has a wealth of knowledge existing within staff members. Engage both your PR department and Human Resources team if possible. Talk to them about the best methods of promoting your course to staff. Ask for their help to profile the typical learner so that you can target their needs more effectively. Ask them what has worked in the past as well as what has failed.
Find out if any members of staff have completed similar training courses in the past. Ask them what was good about the course and what the learning enabled them to do or do better. Feature any success stories in your marketing material.
Get your execs, department heads and other key senior members of staff on-board. Arrange a briefing meeting to bring these important influencers up to speed with your course and the benefits it will bring to learners. If possible, ask them for their own stories about their ongoing learning and how training courses have influenced their success. It will be useful to include video or transcripts of these stories in your marketing material. When key influencers talk, staff normally listen – make good use of this!
3. Create a Marketing Video
Using video to promote your training courses is a powerful tool. The majority of people like to be shown what something is and how it can benefit them rather than be told about it or have to read about it.
If you choose to use video, you can describe the contents of your course, focusing on the benefits of completing the programme. You can address popular queries and concerns, provide social proofing and a clear call to action for your viewers.
Video is not only effective, it’s also relatively easy and cheap to make. These days, even mobile phones are equipped with decent video cameras. There are also many free or cheap video editing apps available. We’ve used animated explainer videos – such as the one on one of our creativity courses to good effect, which our clients tell us they find useful.
Video sharing sites, such at YouTube, enable your video to be uploaded instantly and viewed by anyone, anywhere in the world. As demonstrated by our past clients, you can also embed your video on your website, emails, social media pages and other digital locations to great effect.
4. Social Media
Social media continues to be a huge influence in our lives and on the choices we make. Create a social media presence for your course on any platform currently used within your company. Depending on the time resources you have available, you can choose how fully you engage with your followers. But, at the very least, you can invite questions and set up meetings and training sessions as events, to which you can invite people to attend.
Ensure your social media pages are directly linked to your company’s main website and existing social media pages.
Social media is a great way to promote your training courses and can usually be used for free!
5. Provide Recognition
Results found by our clients in the past show that public and peer recognition is a huge motivator. With this in mind, you may choose to provide certificates for course completion and utilise learning and achievement charts that can be seen by other members of staff. Most people are motivated by being seen to do well, so a public display of learners’ achievements can prompt others to sign-up for a course.
If your course is online or digital, consider using gamification strategies. Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in a non-game context to engage learners to solve problems and reach goals. Gamification is proven to improve both up-take of internal courses and results. It enables you to introduce an element of competition between staff members, a highly motivational factor.
Why not consider offering real-life incentives to encourage learners to sign-up? Perhaps a reward for the highest scoring learners or a treat for the department with the highest up-take of the course. Enlist the help of your most creative colleagues to come up with attractive incentives.
There is something convincing about holding a glossy, well-presented brochure in your hand. Not only does it add credibility to the course, it puts information about it directly under the noses of potential learners in a format that can’t be simply switched off or clicked away from. Brochures are a great way to promote your training courses – see some examples here!
Your brochure should include clear details about your course and benefits and solutions it offers. It should also provide clear information about how to sign-up.
Depending on how your company operates, try to ensure that your brochures are easy to find for potential learners by making them available in staff rooms, canteens or other shared physical areas.
7. Utilise Current Company Communication Channels
It’s worthwhile examining how people within your company communicate most efficiently. Is there a company magazine, a newsletter, steering groups or an AGM? If so, your course needs to be featured! Offer to write an editorial piece on an issue connected to your course, offering your course as the solution. Volunteer to speak about a connected issue at steering groups, meetings or an AGM.
Perhaps there are notice boards where you can advertise. Where do members of staff socialise outside of work? It may be possible to advertise or leave brochures there.
Make it your business to find out how staff find out what is happening in your company and make sure the details of your course are there.
8. Offer a Taster
In order to give potential learners an idea of what they can expect on the full course, why not offer a brief taster? This can be timed to fit into a designated break time or lunch time, making it accessible to as many people as possible.
This time can be used to either provide an outline of the entire course, in a nutshell, or you can provide full training for one module or section.
If people don’t have to commit to the full course, they are more likely to give it a go. They should then be sufficiently impressed to sign-up for the full course. Uptake from taster courses is usually very high and your learners will be eager to continue.
Finding ways to promote your training courses internally need not be an uphill struggle. By becoming a little creative in your promotional activities, you can ensure that you have learners queuing up to take the course. Within our experience, with a wide range of different clients over time, your knowledge of your company is key to ensuring you reach the maximum potential of learners. Remember to analyse exactly what is working for you and what isn’t as successful. Moving forward with your promotions, this knowledge is vital in honing your activities and making the most of the resources you have to hand.